The destructive results of the religious wars of the 17th Century led to the rise of the Enlightenment of the following century, which sought to make logic and reason central to human thought, replacing the ideas driven by emotion, encouraging the ideals of toleration, liberty, progress and the removal of religious domination of the state. Undoubtedly the movement's concepts were significant in inspiring the the eruptions of the American and French revolutions, although eventually it was the latter that caused its demise, due to the chaos engendered. Nevertheless enlightenment ideals continued to influence Western society, particularly those of the Anglo Saxon powers.
The relationship between emotion and reason is fundamental to how human beings behave. If we were robots, or like Star Trek's Mr Spock, we would totally lack empathy with others, yet if we allowed emotion to be our only guide, the passions, and a refusal to use reason, would return us to the bigotry of previous ages. Clearly, as in most things, a compromise is required, and this was recognised in Ephesians, which states "We are saved through faith. The mind and heart must both be engaged in this process because to have faith in God, we must believe and trust God. Believing requires the mind, but to trust someone requires the heart".
For many years we have arranged our affairs in the belief that that reason is more important than emotion, even though, in his novel Podrostok the author Dostoevsky put forward the theory that, in the final analysis, human beings do not change their beliefs because of intellectual argument, but because they have first become emotionally convinced of the truth of the proposition. I am sure that this is true, as it is obvious that superior arguments alone rarely change peoples' minds, but nevertheless, until recently, it has been possible to debate and discuss issues in a reasonable manner.
Now we have reached a point in the cultural wars afflicting us where mob mentality, given new life by the curse of social media, is creating a situation in which no rational debate can take place, as those involved in the various so called protest movements will admit of no possibility that their opponents might have a point, and they will never be satisfied unless every jot and tittle of their demands are met. The fanatical environmentalists worship their child saint Greta, while their violent followers in Extinction Rebellion make clear that their belief in their self proclaimed sincerity, and their absolute certainty that they are right, justifies any outrage.
On a different front the extremists of Black Lives Matter declare that they have the right to rewrite history, destroying artefacts, books, and the reputations of every one they can tar with the brush of supposed racism, while at the same time harbouring the virus of anti Semitism in their midst. The historic wrong of slavery cannot be expunged by refusing to accept that the past is the past, or that only a lunatic would support it in today's world.
The utterly absurd gender wars are so imbecilic that any objective observer must conclude that the so called progressive Left has gone completely mad. Even the radicals of the feminist movement are in the firing line, for objecting to hairy great men being allowed to compete with women in sporting contests, or to be sent to female prisons, where the other inmates are then subjected to sexual assault by these "self identified" women.
The deranged intellectuals of the liberal left are attempting to outdo Orwell's worst nightmares as they try to corrupt and distort our language to reflect the supposed truths of which they claim to be the guardians, a lie which the universities, and too many major institutions, are only too willing to support. It is sickening to see so many charities, and commercial organisations, jumping on this bandwagon, attempting to dictate what language their employees must use.
If these lunatics had lived before the Enlightenment they would have been the religious fundamentalists who tortured and burned others in the name of a religion of love, and they are now comparable to those who promote terrorism in the name of a different faith.
If they are not stopped we shall see the real end of the Enlightenment, and of the return of the mentality which inspired Matthew Hopkins and his witch-finders, while free speech and democratic government will become a distant, and ultimately suppressed, memory. The question now is "Who is going to stop them?".